Six Nations 2014: England wary of Wales front row

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Classic Wales v England clashes

RBS Six Nations: England v Wales

Venue:
Twickenham
Date:
Sunday, 9 March
Kick-off:
15:00 GMT
Coverage:
Live on BBC One, S4C, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru; live updates on the BBC Sport website

England forwards coach Graham Rowntree has warned his side's scrum face a huge challenge from Wales' "exceptional" front row on Sunday.

The Lions trio Gethin Jenkins, Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones are all set to start at Twickenham on Sunday.

Rowntree worked with all three in the summer, with Jones and Hibbard playing key roles in defeating Australia.

"Each of them is one hell of a player. I was proud of what we achieved in that third Test," Rowntree told BBC Sport.

"I really enjoyed working with them. They are very powerful, well drilled and very experienced.

"I thought they were exceptional against France. They had the law laid down to them by Gats (Wales coach Warren Gatland), and they delivered. We have to match that this weekend.

"We've got some young guys who are learning week by week, so this will be another big challenge for them."

However Rowntree, who was the Lions' forwards coach, says he is reluctant to focus too much on the individuals in the Welsh pack.

"We did have the luxury of working with them, knowing their games," he admits. "But we won't let that be a distraction.

"We have just got to focus on us, and if we get that right on the weekend, I'm hoping we'll get the right result."

The England pack was comprehensively outplayed in last year's fixture, suffering especially at the scrum, with Wales winning 30-3 to clinch the Six Nations title.

But Rowntree believes the England forwards are now a different proposition compared to 12 months ago.

"We've moved on from that game. We learned a lot and we've been in some real challenges since," he said. "I think we've shown good improvements, but we are not the finished article."

Hooker Dylan Hartley also insists lessons have been learnt from the capitulation in Cardiff.

"It's nice to have the memory of that game to make sure it doesn't happen again," he told BBC Sport. "Since that game we haven't been beaten in that manner. I think our forward pack has developed hugely in the last 12 months."

The atmosphere in Cardiff last March gave the Welsh a clear advantage, and Rowntree has urged the England players to feed off the Twickenham crowd in a similar way on Sunday.

"That was a red-hot atmosphere in Cardiff last year, but the atmosphere we had against Ireland was up there with the best I've ever experienced," he added.

"Rugby is an emotional game. How you manage those emotions is how you will be as a player. We've got to be able to play in those atmospheres but keep our emotions in control."

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